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UT-Led Team Working on Improved Hydrocephalus Treatment

Stephanie TerMaath, the Jessie Rogers Zeanah Faculty Fellow in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering.

Stephanie TerMaath, the Jessie Rogers Zeanah Faculty Fellow in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering.

A team of researchers led by Stephanie TerMaath, UT’s Jessie Rogers Zeanah Faculty Fellow, is making promising strides in the treatment of hydrocephalus, a debilitating and sometimes fatal condition caused by an excess of cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, by engineering an alternative to a device currently used to relieve symptoms.

“There’s no cure for hydrocephalus right now, only treatment of the effects through a surgically implanted device called a shunt,” said TerMaath, of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering. “Unfortunately shunts have a high rate of failure, requiring more surgeries for revision. We’re developing a new ventricular catheter that will be more resistant to obstruction, a common cause of shunt failure.”

Cerebrospinal fluid provides immune support, regulates circulation, and cushions the head and spine. However, if that fluid fails to be absorbed naturally or if an excess is produced, it can cause severe problems with vision, coordination, and mental abilities, and, if left untreated, can lead to death.

Learn more at news.utk.edu.

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